Last week someone wrote, “Now that the economy is on the mend …”
Today, February 2nd, we heard from an official of a major U.S. container port. “I believe,” he said, “that the rebound has started, and the worst is clearly behind us …”
And during his State of the Union address we heard the president say, “Having steered the economy back from the brink of a depression, the administration is committed to moving the nation from a recession to a recovery by sparking job creation to get millions of Americans back to work …”
The U.S., he said, will set an ambitious goal of doubling exports within the next five years to help regenerate economic growth and create 2 million jobs. Does the president really expect Americans to believe that all we have to do is manufacture goods and ship them to demanding buyers overseas? Sure. They’re just chomping at the bit over there … somewhere.
President Obama should tell us about the opinions of those who attended the World Economic Forum last week. He was in attendance with Lawrence Summers, director of the White House National Economic Council, and he’s not leveling with us. AP writer Edith Lederer let the cat out of the bag, however. Her report was anything but rosy:
“DAVOS, Switzerland – The world’s foremost gathering of business and government leaders wrapped up a five-day meeting Sunday with widespread agreement that a fragile recovery is underway but no consensus on what’s going to spur job growth and prevent another global economic meltdown.
“In a group of big egos and many power players attending the World Economic Forum, there was even some humility and a realization that overcoming the first global financial crisis is uncharted territory … ‘Big guys are not the big sufferers,’ one of the attendees was heard to say. ‘Big sufferers are the small guys who lost their jobs, who lost their food, who lost their livelihood.'”
So just who will be demanding and paying for those doubled exports of ours? Overseas folks don’t have any spending money either. The best we can say about U.S. officials who say that an economic recovery has begun is that they’re in a dreamland.
The president and those in his National Economic Council should take a cue from the Russians who just announced plans to build a new shipyard in the Primorsky (maritime) Territory. Civilian ships, according to the report, are to be built by a Russo-Korean joint-venture enterprise. The plan also calls for the construction of some 1,500 apartments, plus the schools, kindergartens, shopping centers, sporting facilities, and everything else that would be required in a shipbuilding community – along with a few hundred thousand employment opportunities. And that’s just one shipyard.
[Can you imagine how many jobs will be created if we revitalized about 100 shipyards in the U.S.?]